A Little Bit about Evolution

Each year, I look forward to the holiday break, not just for the time I have to spend with family, but also for the days without work that I can spend immersed in books.  This year, I loaded my Nook with Ape House my Sara Gruen and  rented the movie adaptation of Water for Elephants before New Years.  Water for Elephants ranks among my five favorite books, with it’s intertwined stories of a 1930s circus and modern day nursing home view of a veterinarian who has lived a very exciting life.  Unfortunately, the movie cuts out the elder story-line, resigning it to the beginning and end of the film.  It’s the interplay of the family ideals that makes the story, from the death of the parents in the beginning to the children missing the circus in the end that frame the young man finding his family in the unlikely place of a traveling circus.

I had high expectations for Gruen’s next novel, Ape House, and though some have given it less than stellar reviews, the story was equally fast paced with enough odd characters to keep it interesting.  Again, the animals steal the show, from the first few pages where we learn about the bonobos’ sign language and their ability to communicate with humans, much like the Polish-communicating elephant is the key to the prior novel.  I didn’t become as attached to the main human characters in this more recent book, which may be its biggest downfall, but its glimpse into our evolution and overview of linguistics from all its characters created a good story that also examines the meaning of family.

My next book choice examines family from a more personal angle and one in the public eye, through Diane Keaton’s memoir Then Again.  Like the actress, it hinges on being uniquely entertaining and endearing.  Though certainly removed by a generation from my own view of the world and the actors that I grew up with, it’s passages from Diane and her mother Dorothy touch upon reoccurring themes – finding love and succeeding in an evolving world.

 

 

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